Shelter Medicine Internship

Make a difference for animals from Alaska to Puerto Rico

  • Do you have a deep, personal passion to change the world for shelter pets?
  • Are you ready to develop the knowledge, experience, and wisdom to join a shelter and make an immediate positive impact for shelter animals and the communities they live in?
  • Would you like to be part of saving animals and bringing sustainable sheltering programs from Alaska to Puerto Rico?

If this is you, then you might be our next shelter medicine intern!

There’s a critical shortage of veterinarians with special expertise in shelter medicine. Our internship program is designed to produce a skilled practitioner well-equipped for shelter practice or to be competitive for a residency program in the shelter medicine specialty.

2020-2021 Intern Jerika Brooks

Dr. Jerika Brooks, 2020-2021 Shelter Medicine Intern

"This sweet girl marked my 500th spay/neuter surgery since starting my Shelter Medicine internship. I’ve been learning from the best and can’t wait for the next 500!! Let this also serve as a PSA to please get your pets spayed/neutered."

Hands-on Learning in Florida Shelters

The core component of the internship is hands-on medical, behavioral, and surgical care of patients in a mentored shelter environment. The interns will participate in several clinical rotations selected from a palette of open-admission municipal and limited-admission adoption-guarantee shelters in Florida. The participating shelters have advanced shelter medicine programs led by full-time shelter veterinarians, many of whom are alumni of the Shelter Medicine Program.

These in-shelter rotations provide training in best practices for preventive healthcare, treatment of ill and injured animals, monitoring animal health and welfare, principles of population medicine and management, infectious disease recognition and response, community cat management, cruelty investigations, and surgery.

Dr. Meaghan Mielo with puppy in Puerto Rico

Dr. Meaghan Mielo, 2018-2019 Shelter Medicine Intern

“When you get into a shelter, you learn there’s more to shelter medicine than just spaying or neutering. There’s population health, there’s individual health, there’s animal welfare. There are so many things that go into shelter medicine that you can’t really appreciate until you’re in it."

Holistic Approach to Shelter Medicine

Back at the college, the interns will work with the shelter medicine faculty in veterinary forensic medicine, shelter consultations, diagnosis and management of disease outbreaks in shelters, and large-scale field responses to disasters involving animals, including mass seizures of abused or neglected animals.

Internship director Dr. Cynda Crawford highlights that: A unique component of our shelter medicine internship program includes completion of several certificate programs that supplement the clinical training phase. The intern will complete courses in shelter medicine, forensics, and behavior certification as a Fear Free Practitioner, and FEMA certification necessary for assisting with animal disasters or emergencies at both the state and federal level.

Interns with a special interest in feline health and welfare can elect to spend extra time with FeLV research, Operation Catnip, cat shelter rotations, and feline disease outbreaks.

The Shelter Medicine internship is powered by the nonprofit foundation Petco Love, which invested in the program with a $510,000 grant to address the increasing shortage of shelter medicine veterinarians and assure shelter pets have access to timely and essential veterinary care. The grant will support the accelerated training program for six veterinarians over three years.

Dr. Amelia Sikora cuddling an orange cat

Dr. Amelia Sikora, 2019-2020 Shelter Medicine Intern

“It is really something you have to experience before you can understand the hard work, magnitude, and reach these programs have for Puerto Rico. I loved everyone I worked with there, and I’ve made lifelong veterinary friends.”

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What happened during the first month of Dr. Sikora’s internship? Here’s a taste: